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How To Fight Back Against Dust Mites

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This issue of News For A Healthier You talks about the common year-round problem of dust mite allergy:
  1. Identifying The Problem
  2. Preventing The Problem
  3. Dealing With The Problem
  4. Products To Help You Fight Dust Mites & Their Allergen
  5. May's Special - Save 15% On A Select Group Of Products For Dust Mite Allergy Relief
  6. Newsletter Subscriber Sweepstakes Winner
How To Fight Back Against The Most Common Year-Round
Cause Of Allergy Symptoms: Dust Mites

Identifying The Problem
Although dust mite allergy is the term commonly used, you really aren't allergic to dust mites - it's worse. It's dust mite allergen that causes an allergic reaction, and dust mite allergen is the dried feces and dried body parts of dead dust mites.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) describes the effect of these tiny, microscopic particles on your body in this way:
Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. If you have an allergy, your immune system identifies the allergen as an invader. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. This reaction usually causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin.
Preventing The Problem
Dust mites cover the earth. There are only very small, very rare areas with no dust mites, like the North Pole. So it's almost a certainty that you have dust mites in your home. Not everyone reacts to dust mite allergen, but if you wake up with a stuffy nose and watery eyes, you may be one of the unlucky millions of Americans who do. The only way to know for sure is to visit a doctor who can test for common allergies and pinpoint the source of your allergy symptoms. If you confirm dust mite allergy or you suspect dust mite allergy, there are steps you can take to reduce the population of dust mites and neutralize their allergen in your home.

The Number One Recommendation of doctors for patients with dust mite allergy is to cover the mattress, box spring and pillows with zippered mite proof encasings. This is because the highest concentration of dust mites is in your bedding where the little arachnids can burrow to find moisture from your body and the environment, darkness, and your sloughed off skin cells provide a constant source of food. By using a mite proof cover as an impenetrable layer of protection, you are cutting off their supply of food and water and preventing their allergen from entering your bedroom and the air you breathe from your mattress, box springs and pillows.

Your comforter, dust ruffle, curtains, and mattress pad are also repositories of dust mite allergen. These items can be washed every two weeks or you can choose to place your comforter in a mite proof cover or duvet liner, put your mattress pad inside the mattress encasing, and get rid of the dust ruffle and curtains.

Dust mites thrive in warm, moist environments so humidity control is another way to reduce the dust mite population in your home. Using a humidity monitor helps you know when the humidity in your home rises above 45-50% and it is wise to take steps to reduce humidity. A dehumidifier pulls moisture from the air to reduce your humidity level to a healthier 40-45%. Summer months and warm climates are major factors contributing to high humidity.

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Dealing With The Problem
Even with the bedding covered, you will still have a smaller, but still irritating, population of dust mites living in the carpet, drapes, and upholstered furniture throughout your home. So the next step to avoid dust mite allergen is to treat these soft surfaces to kill the dust mites and neutralize the allergen (dried body parts) they leave behind.

Carpets and upholstered furniture are havens for dust mites. You may not be able to remove carpet and replace with hard surface floors or replace upholstered furniture with wood and leather. But you can regularly apply carpet & upholstery treatments. For the best results choose a product to kill dust mites and between these treatments, use a product designed to neutralize the allergen left behind. See our comparison chart for quick reference.

Other sources of dust mite allergen are your sheets, blankets, and clothing. You can kill dust mites in the laundry with very hot water (130 degrees or greater), but frequent hot water washings can be hard on some fabrics. An alternative to hot water is using an allergen reduction laundry detergent or a laundry additive that is effective against dust mites in cold or warm water.

Keeping your environment as dust-free as possible is also important in the battle against dust mite allergen since a large component of dust is dust mite allergen (remember that is the dried feces and dried body parts of dead dust mites). Vacuums with HEPA filtration are preferred because the dust does not come back out of the vacuum with the exhaust air. Dusting tools specific to the chore make the job easier.

Products To Help You Fight Dust Mites & Their Allergen
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Margie Bullock, Newsletter Editor

Closing Thoughts
It's not much consolation to know that if you have a reaction to dust mite allergen, you are not alone. But maybe it is comforting to know there are steps you can take to prevent and reduce the symptoms. I hope this article is helpful. Please share your thoughts about our products and our service by posting on our Facebook Page.

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